Rickie Fowler had a really tough 2016 season: marking zero wins and a very poor Rio Olympics showing. Contrary to the disappointing 2016 season, Fowler has opened up this year very hot. Logging three top six finishes in his first four events, made him a huge favorite coming into the Honda Classic.
The Honda Classic kicks off the Florida swing on tour and is essentially a prelude to the Masters. This past weekend, Fowler went wire to wire to post a thirteen under 267. He ended up winning by four strokes in winds exceeding twenty miles per hour. This was the first time in his career that Fowler followed through on a fifty four hole lead, which will intensify his confidence to close in pressure situations.
Fowler is a young, hard-working player that has a high ceiling. He has been relatively consistent since the beginning of his career and after sliding out of his recent struggles, he seems more confident and relaxed than ever. Sunday during his press conference, Fowler said, “I can relax a little bit. This just lets us chill out in a way. There’s less pressure, less stress. I think this is something we needed coming into Augusta. I like the spot we are in right now and moving forward.” These are sure signs of a player ready to win some more golf tournaments.
A factor to consider right now is that the best players in the world are heating up. Two weeks ago, Jordan Spieth won at Pebble Beach, Dustin Johnson at Riviera and now Fowler at The Bear Trap. This proves that these guys are playing at a high level, which will make it hard to win in the Masters. This is something Rickie can overcome though; a few seasons back in 2014, he had top five finishes in all four majors proving that he can play at the highest level and is afraid of no opponent.
Fowler has had success at Augusta, always making the cut and finishing tied for second in 2014. Fowler is the last big star out of that group that stole the PGA Tour spotlight around five years ago that has yet to win a major. Considering he has four tour wins already and consistent FedEx cup results year in and year out, he has exceeded expectations and impressed fans and players. His resume will only be that more impressive once he grabs a major. Look for it to happen in 2017.